A world shearing record attempt will go ahead in Central North Island on Wednesday without the traditional packed-woolshed crowd to carry the five hopefuls through their last few hours.
Te Kuiti shearing contractor and event manager Neil Fagan said the Covid-19 situation meant no spectators will be allowed at the nine-hours, five-stand, strong wool lambs record at Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation's Te Pa Station, at 859 Oruakukuru Rd, between Raetihi and Ohakune.
The area is red under the Covid-19 Protection Framework.
The record is currently an unclaimed mark in the books of the World Sheep Shearing Records Society but Welsh shearers Delwyn and Llion Jones, Taihape teenager Reuben Alabaster, and King Country guns Kelly Brill and Jack Fagan will still have to be on their game from the start to consistently meet the quality standards required at World Record attempts.
Each is capable of well over 600 on the day, but only their shed crew and cooks, farm staff, and six of the seven judges will be allowed to see it - all double-vaccinated.
Chief judge and Welsh official Martyn David will monitor the event from an office at home in St Athan using audio-visual link technology - as was used in the successful solo records set by New Zealander Megan Whitehead in Southland in January and England shearer Stuart Connor in Cornwall in July.
The technology means the record attempts can go ahead in the pandemic, as it meets the rules required for an international panel of judges.
Wet weather disrupted the drafting of the lambs on Friday, but organisers are confident it'll be all-go for a wool-weigh in the woolshed on Tuesday afternoon when a shear of 20 lambs must average at least 0.9kg per lamb.
After preparation already in the shed, the crew are confident the minimum requirement will be met and the record allowed to go ahead the next day, starting at 5 am and finishing at 5 pm.
The five runs during the day are separated by one-hour breakfast and lunch breaks and half-hour breaks for morning and afternoon "smoko".
Current nine-hour strong wool lambs records
Solo: 872, shorn by Stuart Connor, of England, at Trefrank Farm, St Clether, Cornwall, on July 28, 2021.
Solo women: 661, shorn by Megan Whitehead, of Gore, at Craigellachie, Croydon Bush, Southland, on January 14, 2021.
Two stands: 1637, shorn by Rodney Sutton (823) and Nigel Brown (814), at Rangipo Prison Farm, on December 23, 1999.
Three stands: 2350, shorn by Shane Harvey (804), Peter Harvey (777) and Jimmy Clark (769), at Mt Linton Station, Ohai, Southland, on January 30, 2006.
Four stands: 2897, shorn by James Fagan (740), Cartwright Terry (734), Beau Guelfi (713) and Roger Neil (710), at Waihi-Poukawa Station, Turangi, on December 21, 2007.
Four stands women: 2066, shorn by Megan Whitehead (608), Sarah Higgins (528), Natalya Rangiawha (507), Amy Silcock (423), at Waihi-Poukawa Station, Turangi, on January 23, 2020.